Britons willing to complain, but not all the way to the bank

28 January 2014

Britons have become Europe’s consumer champions and will stand up to bad service, according to research conducted by Nationwide Building Society¹. They are more likely than their European counterparts to send food back and complain about bad service:

The research shows that Brits:

  • Are most likely to send food back if they are not completely happy with it(48% will do so compared with 20% and 14% from France and Italy respectively)
  • Will openly complain when they are unhappy about service – 47% will complain, more than any other nation
  • Are the least likely to tip if they are unhappy with service (just 15% will always leave a tip). A third of Germans (35%), however, will always tip even if they are not happy

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “Britons are traditionally seen as unwilling to complain and would rather keep quiet than make a fuss. However, this research has challenged that stereotype. In fact, we’re more likely to stand up to bad service than our European counterparts.”

Despite this, when it comes to complaining to their bank, Britons are the second least likely group to complain about bad service, just behind the Germans. Just 17% of respondents said they would be likely to switch their banking provider in the near future, with a third (32%) citing that they believe there is not much difference between one bank to the next as the reason for not switching.

Phil Smith continued: “It’s surprising that us Brits are less likely to put up with bad service and will send food back in a restaurant, but will put up with bad service from a bank.

“If you’re unhappy with the service you receive from your financial provider, we would encourage you to stand up to this and consider other options. The new Current Account Switch Service means it has never been easier to move current accounts.

“Nationwide has been independently rated as having the best customer service on the high street and, as a mutual, our members are at the heart of what we do. Combine this with a range of highly competitive current accounts and Nationwide stands out as the main alternative to the big banks.”

Notes to editors:
Full details on Nationwide’s current accounts

¹. Research carried out by Vision Critical in December 2013 and January 2014 of 2,027 people in the UK. In France, Germany, Italy and Spain, 500 people were surveyed.

About Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million members.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 16,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.